Monday, October 14, 2013

In the Midst of the Shutdown, the D.C. Program Rolls On!

As the Fall 2013 Semester moves along, the D.C. program continues its immersion into the daily D.C. grind.  We are barely at the halfway point and D.C. students have had the benefit of visiting iconic sites around D.C. and hearing from dynamic speakers. Students recently had the privilege of hearing from Mike McCurry, former Press Secretary for President Bill Clinton and parent of a Hamilton Alum. Mr. McCurry discussed the current polarized Washington environment and the factors that have contributed to the current stalemate between congressional Democrats and Republicans. One factor that Mr. McCurry mentioned was the fact that congressional Representatives now spend much less time in Washington, D.C. and they simply have not developed the relationships that members of Congress developed in the past. This fact could clearly make compromise more difficult. In addition to his perspective on D.C. politics, Mr. McCurry discussed experiences from his time as Press Secretary and discussed whether Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would run for president. Overall, it was an extremely engaging and informative discussion.
D.C. students also had the privilege of hearing from Admiral James Loy. In addition to a 40-plus year career in the Coast Guard, the Admiral also served as Acting and Deputy Director of the Department of Homeland Security in the aftermath of 9/11. Admiral Loy was one of the key figures responsible for consolidating the myriad of agencies that would eventually comprise the DHS. Admiral Loy discussed the importance of effective leadership in organizational performance. The Admiral also described personal experiences throughout his career, such as his role in evacuating 500,000 civilians by water on 9/11, and his role in evacuating civilians in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Admiral Loy presented a wealth of knowledge that was directly related to the seminar course this semester: Public Policy Problems: The American Administrative State.
In addition to learning from various speakers, D.C. students are also witnessing the effects of the government shutdown. Students are seeing firsthand how the lack of political compromise affects government agencies, tourist attractions, and D.C. residents. For example, with so many D.C. workers furloughed, the morning rush hour is noticeably less populated.

Although the government is shutdown, the D.C. program rolls on!

Professor G. Johnson
Assistant Professor of Government

Fall 2013 Hamilton College Program in Washington, D.C. Director